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What We Learned: Seahawks depending too much on Russell Wilson

This game slipped through Seattle's fingers just like the final Hail Mary pass. (AP)

Pete Carroll wants his quarterback to be his point guard.

He said that before the Seahawks ever drafted Russell Wilson.

And sure enough, Wilson is Seattle’s point guard. He’s also Seattle’s leading scorer, the best free-throw shooter and the only guy that can create his own shot. Seems like every other playmaker the Seahawks have is like a spot-up shooter, standing there waiting for a pass.

O’Neil: Seahawks didn’t just lose, they blew it vs Washington

So first among the list of what we learned from Seattle’s loss to Washington is the reality that this Seahawks team is entirely too dependent on Wilson:

Three things we learned

1. Seattle can no longer overcome a bad game by Wilson.

It wasn’t always this way. In Wilson’s first three seasons in the league, the Seahawks were 5-5 when Wilson’s passer rating was less than 75. In the past three seasons, they are 0-6 when Wilson’s passer rating is less than 75. It was 70.3 on Sunday against Washington, his second-lowest rating in any game this season. The utter lack of a run game, which is underscored by the reality that Wilson is Seattle’s leading rusher, has put the Seahawks in a situation where they’re depending on their quarterback to provide every bit of horsepower for this offense even as he’s running to evade the pass rush.

2. This team can’t afford to be so sloppy.

Used to be that Seattle could succeed in spite of its penalties. After all, the Seahawks have ranked among the league’s 10 most-penalized teams each of the past six seasons. They were the most penalized team in the league in 2013 and 2014 while making back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Well, Seattle isn’t as talented as it was back then when Wilson was playing on a rookie contract that made him the biggest bargain in professional sports. Not only that, but the penalties have become even worse. Seattle was penalized 15 times at New York two weeks ago and was penalized 16 times against Washington. Those are the two highest single-game penalty totals in Carroll’s eight seasons as Seahawks coach, which is really saying something given this team’s propensity for being penalized.

3. Seattle should have won that game in the first three quarters.

I know, I know. That defies Pete Carroll’s catchy call-and-response in which he asks his team whether you can win the game in the first quarter, the second quarter or the third quarter, building up to the grand conclusion about the importance of the final period. But the truth is that Seattle could have – and very much should have – put away that Washington team before it ever got to the fourth quarter. Seattle gained twice as many yards as Washington in the first half and Washington crossed midfield only twice in the first 50 minutes of the game. Yet the Seahawks still trailed because of penalties and three missed field goals, and when you let a team like Washington hang around until the very end, you leave open the possibility that the opposing quarterback will step in a big ol’ pile of lucky (stuff) before the final possession and complete two absolutely ridiculous passes in the final 2 minutes. While those completions are why Washington won the game, the Seahawks lost it because they were unable to get ahead earlier.

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